I just bought a 5.1 surround sound system for my computer and need to extend the speakers so I can have some behind the couch. They look like this:

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I'm pretty sure its RCA, but I've never messed with larger audio setups and wanted to make sure. Regardless, I will need to extend these cables an extra 20-30 feet. Will there be a loss of quality/signal at that kind of length?


Yes it's RCA. You should be good at 30 feet. I've got RCA leads at least that (likewise, for a surround sound system) and can't notice the loss in quality (there should be some, being analogue). I'm certainly no audiophile though.

Reading around suggests quality degrades a bit after about 25 feet, but it seems most people are referring to rca in video signals. For audio, you should be ok.

edit: Bear in mind you'll need to avoid sources of interference. I didn't mention that previously.

  • Thanks for the reply. I looked around and found the same information you did. Most people seem to be using it for video and not audio. I came across this cable to use for extending and it seems to say it can keep a signal from interference quite well. I think I'll give it a shot. – n0pe Jan 14 '13 at 0:35
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    RCA (aka "phono") plug & jacks are intended for audio connections. They are used for video connections on consumer-grade gear because they are cheap; pro video gear use BNC connectors which can maintain a 75 Ohm impedance. RCA connectors are not 75 Ohm connectors, and should not be used for video if possible. For audio cable lengths, at longer distances, the resistance, capacitance and inductance of the cable can have an effect when using revealing equipment. Of course there are some who will disagree. – sawdust Jan 14 '13 at 1:00
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    Under 50pF per foot is good. Under 30pF per foot is excellent. Lower frequencies are less sensitive to capacitance than higher frequencies. If you don't care about precisely crisp highs, 75 ohm cable is good (less than .2 dB distortion) for 20Hz-20Khz at 10,000pF. The cable you were looking at was 22pF/foot, so that's good to 450 feet. (Good against distortion, anyway. Interference from other signals is another story.) – David Schwartz Jan 14 '13 at 2:36
  • @DavidSchwartz how did you find out the 22pF/foot, out of interest ? – Sirex Jan 14 '13 at 2:43
  • @Sirex: It's on the list of 'Features' on the web page. – David Schwartz Jan 14 '13 at 5:26

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